9 Essential Traits of Great Leaders

To celebrate our 9-year mark, we thought we’d make a number of “9 lists” to run alongside our amazing “12 for 9” promotion through the month of October.

So to kick things off, here are 9 traits of a great leader.


#1 - Great leaders are humble

Being humble means asking your team for input and being a great listener because, guess what? You don’t always have all the answers. Great leaders are not threatened by another’s success because they understand the company’s mission: to turn a profit.

#2 - Great leaders leave their mark

The great leaders leave an extremely positive mark on the company as they exit. They shift the company culture toward a more productive and happier light and inspire everyone to continue to dream bigger.

#3 - Great leaders promote growth in others

Jack Welch once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” And he’s absolutely, 100% right on the money. Truly great leadership is inspiring and helping your staff continually improve and achieve more success.

#4 - Great leaders communicate

Whether it's sharing company updates or discussing the company's goals, great leaders clearly express every talking point. They’re great at handling the communication channels, ensuring two-way discussions set clear expectations with employees and themselves.

#5 - Great leaders are loyal

One of the most important tenets of a working relationship is trust. And the great leaders garner respect by maintaining a sense of loyalty with their delegation and open communication with employees.

#6 - Great leaders value recognition

Recognizing employee accomplishments serves so many purposes. It boosts morale and individual productivity, it inspires employees to want to impress more often, and it's a simple act of kindness that can pay dividends on the company culture down the road.

#7 - Great leaders have tremendous discipline

Discipline isn’t always about being cool and calm under pressure. Discipline in business is having the wherewithal to make decisions stick like glue. Discipline is having the courage to set a project down a path without feeling the need to pump the brakes every 5 miles. And tremendous discipline is about staying rigid in the face of failure.

#8 - Great leaders empathize

Leaders who empathize with their team gain trust and energize relationships because they’re willing to put an ear to the ground. That empathy makes employees’ voices feel important and encourages more open dialogue.

#9 - Great leaders burn the midnight oil

All the company culture talk, the inspiring work ethic stories, the quotes - none of them matter if your company doesn’t produce. Great leadership is about putting in the effort and time to make sure all the wheels are spinning in the right direction. Hard work inspires harder work.

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